Losing weight is about much more than exercising and cutting down on deserts. It involves feeding your system with the right fuel, so that it can work properly. Depriving our body of the vitamins and minerals essential for keeping our organism balanced can therefore lead to a chain reaction causing problems that may bring about unhealthy weigh gain. So keep reading to learn how and why you should consider vitamins for weight loss.
Many of us need nutrients that even a balanced diet fails to provide. It goes without saying that processed and fast foods have little to none nutritional value, but even a diet rich in fruits, veggies and lean protein can be deprived of certain nutrients that aid weight loss.
Losing weight, therefore, is only possible if your lifestyle is based on exercise, clean eating and stress management. It’s what we need to restore balance. But when that balance is shaken, the body reacts. So let me give you an example.
A diet based on unhealthy food choices can make you fatigued. Fatigue depletes your body from energy so you have to decrease your level of physical activity. And the less active you are – the greater the possibility of gaining weight.
Vitamins for weight loss and energy
Reversely, satisfying our bodies’ nutrition needs can help reduce unhealthy eating. Some studies have found that taking the right vitamins can reduce our cravings for unhealthy food, which results in better food choices and, consequently, more energy to exercise. Another benefit of a well-balanced system is that it sleeps well – which is yet another piece of the weight-loss puzzle.
So without further ado, let’s look at are the top vitamins for weight loss. We will go over the sources, daily recommended intake, and how they help you lose weight.
Vitamin D and Weight Loss
Vitamin D is probably among the most important vitamins for weight loss. And here is why.
When your body is low in vitamin D, it starts converting sugars into fat instead of energy, storing it for future use. In that sense, the link many researchers have established between vitamin D deficiency and obesity may not come as a surprise.
Namely, it was discovered that people with BMI (body mass index) above 30 have usually very low intake of vitamin D. Studies have also shown that healthy levels of vitamin-D can reduce adipogenesis, which is the formation of fat cells in the body. This prevents you from gaining extra weight in the first place, so your weight loss campaign is even easier to achieve.
Another important finding is that stored vitamin-D signals to the hypothalamus to decrease the production of the parathyroid hormone, a substance that is the main culprit for hoarding belly fat. So there is definitely a strong connection between Vitamin D and weight loss.
As vitamin-D is processed through the liver before being sent to the bloodstream, taking vitamin D for weight loss is a very promising supplement choice to a calorie-restricted diet and daily exercise.
The body needs a minimum of 20ng/mL of vitamin D in the bloodstream to be able to fight the storage of extra fat, so make sure to find healthy sources to up your intake, or simply take a daily multivitamin pill.
Sources of vitamin D
- Fatty fish like Tuna and Salmon
- Dairy products
- Orange juice
- Beef liver
- Egg yolks
The bottom line – vitamin D supplements will definitely help with your weight loss. If you choose not to take them, make sure you eat plenty of vitamin D-rich foods and don’t shy away from those sun rays.
Vitamin C and weight loss
Vitamin C is one of the main supplements for those who want to improve strength or drop a few pounds. Losing weight and reaching a healthy BMI is very difficult if you are vitamin C deficient.
This vitamin helps metabolize fat, as it plays a significant role in the biosynthesis of carnitine (a tiny protein-like molecule), which speeds up metabolism and fights fatigue.
Studies have shown that people with adequate vitamin C levels oxidize 30 percent more fat when exercising as opposed to people deficient in vitamin C. Thus, vitamin C deficiency may result in resistance to losing weight.
Another one of vitamin C benefits is that it helps avoid the highs and lows caused by a bad diet. In other words, it puts a break on your cravings to dive into cookies and chocolate when your sugar levels plummet.
Sources of Vitamin C
- Acerola cherries
- Yellow peppers
- Brussels sprouts
So there you go. Vitamin C deficiency won’t necessarily make you gain weight, but having it in stock will improve your chances of losing fat and will raise your body’s metabolism. Make sure, therefore, to stay on top of your vitamin C intake, through either food or supplements.
Vitamin E and weight loss
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin, and it can help you burn that extra fat. Here is how – Vitamin E helps improve the functioning of your thyroid, which is one of the culprits for weigh gain. Hormonal imbalance is another reason we put on weight, and vitamin E has an important say in balancing hormones.
But if this isn’t enough to crown it as one of the best vitamins for weight loss in women, it also helps get rid of bloating (PMS rings a bell?).
So is there a connection between Vitamin E and weight loss? Well, Vitamin E is one of the most important vitamins when it comes to weight loss and energy.
If your weight loss plan includes exercise, by all means rely of vitamin E to help you achieve higher energy levels and greater physical endurance.
It will also improve your muscle strength, which is of great importance if you are lifting weights and doing other types of resistance training. In other words – take Vitamin E for less fatigue and more energy to exercise.
Sources of Vitamin E
- Vegetable oils
- Sunflower seeds
You can opt for supplements or capsules, although there is plenty of healthy food rich in vitamin E you can choose from (oils, nuts, fruits, veggies and fish) which can provide a significant amount of the recommended daily dose.
Vitamin A and weight loss
Vitamin A is not a weight loss supplement on its own. It’s more of an indirect assistant that can help you lose weight. It’s a support system that assist the weight loss process, and here is how.
Vitamin A is an antioxidant, and antioxidants help your body get rid of harmful waste. And although there is no direct link between antioxidants and weight loss, foods rich in antioxidants are healthy and low in calories. This being said, if you decide to optimize the supply of antioxidants, you’ll be choosing foods that are excellent for losing weight.
But besides the Vitamin A and weight loss connection, it is also good for your heart and overall health, which is detrimental to your ability to maintain a regular and safe workout routine. It also helps your immune system, and keeps your body going. A huge bonus here is that Vitamin A helps your recovery process as well.
Sources of Vitamin A
- Orange and yellow vegetables and fruits
- Dark green and leafy vegetables
While taking vitamin A won’t make you lose weight per se, it will definitely assist you in the process. The best part is – if you are eating healthy, the chances are you don’t have to take any supplements at all.
Vitamin B complex and weight loss
B vitamins help break down carbs, fat and protein in the food we consume, and turn that food into energy. So, lack of strength to exercise may sometime indicate vitamin B deficiency.
Vitamin B3 (niacin) has a role in boosting the good cholesterol and it is helping you control your blood sugar levels. Deficiency in B3 can also affect the functioning of the thyroid, the link of which to weight gain we have already discussed.
Ladies may be happy to learn that it also relieves symptoms of PMS. So when it comes to essential vitamins for weight loss in women, B3 is definitely on the list.
Additionally, several B vitamins help produce serotonin, which is an antidote to stress and anxiety, and melatonin, which is essential for good sleep and relaxation. Evidence has shown that vitamin B deficiencies may lead to depression, which is one of the biggest allies to weight gain.
But let’s have a closer look at the weight-properties of some other members of the B complex family.
Vitamin B12 and weight loss
Vitamin B12 won’t make your body burn fat or calories, but higher quantities of Vitamin B12 will help convert food into energy, rather than fat.
The way it helps with weight loss is that it assists the absorption of nutrients. Instead of turning them into fat, it turns them into energy. Quite handy, right?
It is one of the main vitamins to get you moving when you feel fatigued, and it is certainly on the list of recommended vitamins for weight loss and energy. So Vitamin B12 and weight loss definitely go hand in hand.
But let’s see how vitamin B12 deficiency can prevent weight loss, and even lead to weigh gain.
B12 regulates the functioning of the nervous system, so depriving your body from B12 can trigger chronic stress and leave you with feelings of lethargy. This will inevitably influence your motivation to exercise.
B12 also has an important role in several metabolic processes. If you are vitamin B12 deficient, your body won’t be able to get the energy from the break-down of sugar. This is another problem if you are on a low carb diet. So make sure to meet your daily recommended intake.
Sources of Vitamin B12
- Organ meats like animal liver or kidneys
As its main source are animal products, people on plant-based diets and vegans should take care to top up their vitamin B12 intake through supplements available as regular liquid, pill or syringe. If you are not a vegetarian, and want to keep up with a low calorie, restrictive diet, you can look our guide on the carnivore meal plan.
Vitamin B6 and weight loss
Nothing beats B6 when it comes to weight loss. It helps you achieve your goals faster through its effect on the metabolism. But how does it work?
B6 increases your metabolic rate by allowing you to absorb more nutrients from food. It synthesizes the macro-nutrients we consume and helps the process of breaking them down.
It also absorbs more amino acids for recovery, which promotes muscle growth. Having more muscles, on the other hand, means an increased resting metabolic rate.
Finally, B6 has proven effects on regulating blood sugar levels and hormones, which puts a stop to food cravings. So this is what people mean when they talk about the link between vitamin B6 and weight loss.
All in all, B6 is the unsung hero when it comes to vitamin supplementation. As for weight loss, it is THE most important vitamin you want to pay attention to.
Sources of Vitamin B6
- Sweet potato
- Liver meat
Having processed all the benefits of vitamins for weight loss, it is up to you to decide which combination would best suit your lifestyle. It you believe that you are deficient in certain vitamins, it is best to first consider adapting your diet in a way that would provide a good balance of all vitamins you need or you believe you lack.
You now have a basic understanding about the vitamin combinations for weight loss, and how they affect your overall fitness regimen and subsequently your lifestyle.
Can vitamins make you gain weight?
While vitamins can undoubtedly promote weight loss and assist with the process, many of you might wonder about their connection to weight gain.
Is there a list of vitamins that cause weight gain?
It’s not seldom that I hear people complain about their appetite having increased as a result of vitamin supplementation. I’ve been considering this issue for a long time, and as much as I’ve tried to compile a list of vitamins that cause weight gain, I was left with an empty sheet of paper.
What I figured, however, is that vitamin deficiency can lead to a decreased appetite, so it makes sense that feeling increased hunger when taking vitamins is actually a reaction to those deficiencies being corrected.
So, instead of a list of vitamins that cause weight gain, I present you with a list of vitamins the deficiency of which can mess with your appetite. In turn you might add some extra pounds once you start taking them and your appetite goes back.
- Vitamin B12
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B1
- Vitamin B6
If you suspect you have a deficiency in any of these vitamins, consult a doctor to identify the culprit and supplement it accordingly.
Vitamins for weight loss in men and women
We mentioned some of the vitamins that promote weight loss in women, so let’s focus on the vitamins for weight loss in men. More importantly, you want to think about the vitamin combinations for weight loss.
Generally, you’ll have to add vitamins that promote testosterone production, anabolism in the body, and muscle strength. Make sure, therefore, to focus on Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, Vitamin D, and minerals like zinc and magnesium which we will discuss below. The idea is to focus on vitamins for weight loss and energy.
What about minerals for weight loss?
Now, having more or less exhausted vitamins, let’s turn to minerals and their benefits for a healthy body and weight loss. Just as much as vitamins, minerals must be a part of your diet.
They help our body to grow, provide strength and stimulate blood circulation. Not only are they an important part of a proper nutrition plan, but they have a significant role in fat deposition, metabolism and weight management.
That’s right, minerals play a vital role in fat, carbohydrate and fat metabolism. Although no direct link has been found between minerals and losing weight, there is enough proof in support of the fact that mineral deficiency can directly stomp weight loss.
So once again – how important are minerals for weight loss? Well, just read through the list and decide.
- Chromium is an important mineral in the metabolism of sugar and fats, and it helps regulate insulin levels.
- Magnesium affects muscle function and energy production. Its deficiency can seriously impair physical performance. It is also an excellent mineral that reduces inflammation and helps with insomnia and depression.
- Zink influences your fat and energy metabolism. Research has shown its effectiveness in lowering BMI and body fat.
- Potassium helps in processing carbohydrates and building proteins blocks in the body. It also promotes a healthy cardiac blood flow.
- Calcium is essential for strong bones. It also regulates blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Vitamins and minerals for weight loss – the conclusion
Now you know the link between vitamins and weight loss. The human body is a complicated machine, and there are hundreds of processes taking place at any time, in any part of the body. Vitamins, according to a vast literature, help these processes rather much.
But despite their paramount importance when it comes to our health and our weight loss efforts, no single vitamin or mineral is a magic pill that will solve our problems in a flash.
Weight loss has to come from healthy habits and lifestyle changes. Vitamins can make your body work more efficiently but remember that they are meant as a supplement to a healthy diet and exercise regime. Taking vitamins for weight loss can help, but vitamin supplementation alone won’t noticeably improve your weight in the short term.